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Jeers force Hong Kong leader to abandon address with no olive branch on offer

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Jeers force Hong Kong leader to abandon address with no olive branch on offer

By Clare Jim and Twinnie Siu

 

2019-10-16T103320Z_2_LYNXMPEF9F07S_RTROPTP_4_HONGKONG-PROTESTS-CARRIE-LAM.JPG

Lawmakers protest as Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam (not pictured) arrives to deliver her annual policy address, at the Legislative Council in Hong Kong, China, October 16, 2019. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

 

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam had to abandon her policy speech because of jeering lawmakers on Wednesday but later offered no direct olive branch to pro-democracy protesters, hoping instead to ease resentment by building more public housing.

 

Lam, who had to broadcast the annual address via a video link after the rowdy scenes in the Legislative Council, had hoped to try to restore confidence in her administration after four months of often violent anti-government and anti-China protests.

 

She gave up initial attempts to deliver the address after pro-democracy lawmakers called out for "five demands, not one less" and projected the protest rallying cry on to a backdrop behind her.

 

The demands include universal suffrage for the Chinese-ruled city and an independent inquiry into what they say has been excessive force by police in dealing with the unrest.

 

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam was forced to halt her annual policy address on Wednesday (October 16) after some lawmakers disrupted the session, shouting and jeering "five demands, not one less" as Lam started her speech. Rough cut (no reporter narration).

 

Protesters have trashed government buildings, including the Legislative Council, daubed businesses seen as pro-China with graffiti, set street fires and thrown petrol bombs at police who have responded with water canon, tear gas, rubber bullets and several live rounds.

 

Police have arrested more than 2,300 people since June. Thousands have been wounded, including two shot by live rounds.

 

In her policy statement, Lam was unapologetic about her government's response to the protests, which has included introducing British colonial-era emergency laws this month.

 

"Any acts that advocate Hong Kong’s independence and threaten the country’s sovereignty, security and development interests will not be tolerated," she said.

 

"Despite the stormy times and overwhelming difficulties Hong Kong is experiencing, I believe that so long as we accurately adhere to the principle of 'one country, two systems', we will be able to get out of the impasse."

 

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the protesters were trying to humiliate and bring down the Hong Kong government. "There is no simple solution," he said.

 

The protesters are angry at what they see as Beijing's tightening grip on Hong Kong, which was guaranteed 50 years of freedoms under the "one country, two systems" when Britain returned the city to China in 1997.

 

Beijing rejects the charge and accuses Western countries, especially the United States and Britain, of stirring up trouble. The unrest poses the biggest popular challenge to Chinese President Xi Jinping since he came to power in 2012. He has warned that any attempt to divide China would be crushed.

 

A Norwegian lawmaker, Guri Melby, tweeted that she had nominated the Hong Kong people for the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize for their stand for freedom of speech and democracy.

 

Lam later told a news conference that she had held "closed door" meetings with some members of the protest movement and when the unrest ended she would hold more.

 

RESIGNATION CALLS

Pro-democracy lawmaker Tanya Chan said Lam should resign.

 

"Both her hands are soaked with blood. We hope Carrie Lam withdraws and quits,” an emotional Chan told reporters.

 

In her news conference, Lam rejected two of the protesters' five demands - amnesty for those charged and universal suffrage - saying the first was illegal and the second beyond the chief executive's power.

 

Hong Kong's Civil Human Rights Front in a statement also called for Lam to step down.

 

"We urge Carrie Lam to stop destroying Hong Kong, respond to the five major demands, and step down," it said. Lam has for months rejected calls to step down.

 

The leader of the group, Jimmy Sham, was attacked hours later by a group of men in the gritty Mong Kok district on the Kowloon peninsula. Photographs on social media showed a bloodied Sham laying in the street. It is the second time he has been attacked since the protests began.

 

"It is not hard to link this incident to a spreading political terror in order to threaten and inhibit the legitimate exercise of natural and legal rights," said the group.

 

Hong Kong's unrest was ignited by an extradition bill, which could have seen residents sent to Communist Party-controlled mainland courts for trial. Lam has said the bill has been withdrawn, but the suspension of the legislature meant it could not be formally dropped.

 

Densely populated Hong Kong boasts some of the world's most expensive real estate and the inability of many young people to get a place of their own has fuelled the protests.

 

Lam's housing policy is one of the boldest in recent years, vowing to take back large tracts of land held by a handful of powerful developers and create public housing.

 

"We are determined to create home ownership opportunities for people of different income groups such that they will happily make Hong Kong their home," Lam said.

 

Lam said about 700 hectares of land in the New Territories would be brought back into public use under what is known as a land resumption ordinance. More than half of the land would be taken back in the next few years.

 

No Hong Kong leader has take back land from private developers since the handover.

 

Pro-establishment lawmaker Abraham Shek, who represents the real estate sector, rejected the policy, and the pro-Beijing Democratic Alliance party said the policy speech lacked concrete measures.

 

"It’s a conservative, procrastinating blueprint with few new ideas," said the party's chairwoman, Starry Lee.

 

Major developers, including Henderson Land <0012.HK>, New World Development <0017.HK> and Sun Hung Kai Properties <0016.HK>, are sitting on “no less than 1,000 hectares” of agricultural land, according to government estimates.

 

(Reporting By Donny Kwok, Clare Jim, Sarah Wu, Twinnie Siu, James Pomfret and Jessie Pang; Writing by Anne Marie Roantree, Farah Master and Michael Perry; Editing by William Maclean and Nick Macfie)

 

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2019-10-17
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I would like to suggest that hardly anybody likes China. Not even the Chinese diaspora who are not going back. In the free market of ideas and ways to live who would choose China? There are 1.3bn Chinese that are bursting to spill out of China like spores in a putrid cyst. And they will spill out as soon as they have enough money. And that won't be far away. 

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Pro Democracy ? 
Guerrilla, well trained guerrilla to scatter terror among the public and destroy public infrastructure, looting all has nothing to do with democracy Carrie Lam, shall resign only because she has been too soft with them .
Watch the video and see by yourself ! 

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7 hours ago, yellowboat said:

She is hugely disliked and not trusted.  Her moral authority is zero.   She needs to go.  That would help in the near term. 

 

Yes, sod elections and the rule of law. Go with mob rule eh?

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My deepest respect goes to the pro-democracy lawmakers, for continuing to fight for democracy and free speech, despite all intimidation, despite even getting physically attacked by democracy enemies.

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9 hours ago, Ketyo said:

I would like to suggest that hardly anybody likes China. Not even the Chinese diaspora who are not going back. In the free market of ideas and ways to live who would choose China? There are 1.3bn Chinese that are bursting to spill out of China like spores in a putrid cyst. And they will spill out as soon as they have enough money. And that won't be far away. 

I, and another 1.2m immigrants chose China as our home.

 

Quite frankly your description of the Chinese disgusts me. Its one of the most racist statements I have ever seen in print. May you come to reconcile yourself with  your shortcomings before someone else brings them to your attention.

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8 minutes ago, Traubert said:

I, and another 1.2m immigrants chose China as our home.

what were your other  choices?

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On 10/17/2019 at 11:01 AM, webfact said:

Any acts that advocate Hong Kong’s independence and threaten the country’s sovereignty, security and development interests will not be tolerated," she said.

Mainland Chinese glove puppet.

 

Shame they can't vote her out. Britain sold the locals down the river when they agreed to Chinese terms. Shame on them.

Can add it to all the other mistakes Britain made when it abandoned the empire and ran away.

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On 10/17/2019 at 1:07 PM, yellowboat said:

She is hugely disliked and not trusted.  Her moral authority is zero.   She needs to go.  That would help in the near term. 

Just get another glove puppet to replace her. The HK locals are screwed. Keep it up and we know what will happen.

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On 10/17/2019 at 11:01 AM, webfact said:

Lam's housing policy is one of the boldest in recent years, vowing to take back large tracts of land held by a handful of powerful developers and create public housing.

 

"We are determined to create home ownership opportunities for people of different income groups such that they will happily make Hong Kong their home," Lam said.

and she had to wait for rioting to do that! Shame on her.

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18 hours ago, Chazar said:

what were your other  choices?

With a UK passport too many to list.

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32 minutes ago, yellowboat said:

Their are no elections in Hong Kong and rule of law is at stake due to substandard leadership.  The protesters, or the mob as you call them, want elections and rule of law, not the other way around.  The mob is the Hong Kong people.  Think you are on the wrong forum or you know nothing about Hong Kong. 

Of course there are elections at all levels in HK. There are council elections very soon.

 

There are also elections on the mainland in which 800m people vote. They dont pluck their politicians off a tree.

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